FG Sets up Committee to Reconcile, Clear Pension Backlog

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Udoma Udo Udoma
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma
  • Dogara: No excuse for non-payment of pensions

James Emejo in Abuja

The Minister of Budget and Planning , Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, thursday said the federal government would constitute a special committee to reconcile conflicting figures on pensioners claims and evolve creative measures to raise funds towards resolving the huge pension liabilities to workers.

The committee, he added, would be headed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
Nevertheless,he disclosed that the federal government had concluded plans to mobilise resources to clear part of the outstanding pension entitlements put at over N174 billion.

The federal government indebtedness to pensioners is currently valued at over N300 billion.
Udoma stated this when he appeared alongside Adeosun to brief members of the House of Representatives at the plenary on measures being adopted by government to alleviate the plight of pensioners who earlier petitioned the House over the mounting indebtedness.

Both were summoned last week.
He said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari attaches priority to payment of pensioners as promised in the president’s campaign promises to Nigerians.
He added that about a half of total revenue generated by government is spent on settlement of pensioners entitlement and payment of salaries.

Adeosun said the release of N54 billion on Wednesday to clear outstanding pension liabilities further proved government’s commitment towards addressing pensioners’ plight.

She said government’s inability to meet its obligations to pensioners was largely tied to shortfalls in revenue occasioned by recent volatility in the oil sector but assured oensioners that the issue would be resolved when the reconciliation and verification processes are sorted out.

She, therefore, absolved the current administration of blame.
Adeosun noted that though the sum of N191.2 billion was appropriated by the National Assembly, only N99. 5 billion was released, leaving a shortfall of N142.6 billion.

Notwithstanding the ministers’ presentations, the House warned that it would not accept excuses for reneging on pension obligations by the federal government.

The Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, charged the executive to ensure that all backlog of pension payments are made promptly, adding that “no excuse will be accepted for failure to do so.”
Dogara gave this charge after both ministers made presentations to the House.

However, he said he remained confident of the promise made by Buhari that issues surrounding non-payment of pensions to retired federal civil servants will be addressed.

He recalled that when President Buhari made a promise to provide bailout funds to states for payment of backlog of salaries, he ensured that it was done.

According to him, “We will not accept any excuse that leaves part of this pension funds hanging. When the president made a commitment that he was going to release money for bailout to states so that they can pay backlog of salaries and pensions, it happened, even though we were in the midst of a very biting recession. Now the president has said this issue of pension must be solved.

“I don’t know where you got the money to bail out the states from, wherever you got the money from, that is where we are going to get the money to solve this problem. And for the ministers who are representatives of the president, I believe you won’t make him (Buhari) break his words because his words are cherished. I want to believe this will be the last intervention we will be having with regards to the issue of pensions in this country. That is my charge.

“The message the House will be sending to the president through the ministers is, when you meet him to brief him about this engagement, just tell him that we have taken his words to the bank and we believe that we will cash it.”

However, barely one hour after the plenary, President of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), Abel Afolayan, in a statement obtained by THISDAY, disclosed that federal government’s indebtedness to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was over N280 billion.

Breakdown of the amount showed shortfall of N62,484,887,175 for 2014; N38,453,996,566 deficit for 2015 and N38,453,996,566 deficit for 2016 fiscal year.

“2016 was even worse as N91,914,899,000 was required, but the Budget Office proposed only N50,195,808,918 to the National Assembly, which also approved it, leaving a deficit of N41,719,090,082.

“Worst still, of the N50,195,808,918 approved in the 2016 budget, only the sum N18,823,428,342 or mandates for four months was released and cash-backed, while N31,372,380,576 or mandate for seven and half months was never cash-backed and released.

He said: “Meanwhile, the truth is that approval of payment is not the same as payment. It will be good for the minister to tell us when the fund was transferred to the National Pension Commission, and when it will hit pensioners’ accounts.

“Importantly, we are saddened that the federal government is claiming to have cleared pension arrears when the minister did not say a word regarding the over N174 billion owed pensioners who retired under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS). Does it mean that pensioners under this scheme have finally been condemned to life of eternal hardship, sickness, and untimely death?”

  • vincentumenyiora

    I mean ‘liquidity ratio’ not ‘ration’ sorry – in a country with all possible natural minerals you can think about and Europeans need for their own industrial development yet you cannot work them so that you pay your work-force – your labour salaries as a result of your stupid thinking, greed i. e corruption and poltiics!

  • vincentumenyiora

    You can not pay your workers regularly and adequately and you want to grow the economy na lie folks! They go cup in hand to borrow so as to meet their monthly needs/ commitments some of them with three to five grown up girls in the family! Irolonkpa ojare – it is like that age-old dictum in Yoruba mythology thus, you dance three or five steps forward and you return by revers three or five steps back, on the same trajectory, which means you haven’t moved -pele! Nigeria – TAKU; where is the spin-off effect of your policy, whoever is advising NIGERIA!

  • vincentumenyiora

    My intention was to get the officials weaned over into (by hopefully) doing the right thing but see where we are, folks!

  • vincentumenyiora

    See how far I went to discuss need for the right ‘liquidity ration’ for Nigeria with the officials, tells you how daft/ foolish and ‘ignoramus’ these people are thus: –

    1. Ref; GHQ/CGS/222 – 7TH UGST. 1987.
    2. Ref. 2433 Finance and Budget Dept. 16th Jan 1990.
    3. The pensioners 24th Oct. 2009
    4. Northern Elders meeting 24th DEC. 2010
    5. For the attention f he President 12th March 2011.
    6. New appointments 20th June 2011
    7. Yar’Adua and the NASS members 9th Oct. 2010
    8. Amuta’s new text about the economy of Nigeria 20th Jan 2010
    9. Wage and salaries for workers 31st May and a repeat 13th Aug. 2010
    10. Nigeria and her financial problems 2h Dec.010
    11. Okonjo-Iweala just been to see the Senate 7th July 2011
    12. The furore about Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment 11th July 2011
    13. Nigeria Labour on a rampage 22nd July 2011
    14. Jonathan and the new Economic Team 20th Aug. 2011.
    15. Okonjo and the Team on Agriculture 8th Sept. 2011.
    16. Okonjo in the UN 25th Sept. 2011

    The list is endless and it spreads into COMMENT – “Corruption made many social intervention schemes senseless, says Osinbajo – 28th Jan 2016.”

    All the above, still Nigerian officials cannot figure out what the problem is – i. e. why the problem about wage./ salary defaults and the prompt settlement of CERTIFICATES of works by the Ministry of Works, Housing and Energy still persist in the country! Like I said earlier if any of these is found incorrect they should ask BRITISH ADMINISTRATION to put me on the next available flight home, folks, that way, we shall discover who is really that concerned about wage and salary problem (imbroglio) in Nigeria! .

  • vincentumenyiora

    What in NIGERIA YOU REGARD AS DOING A FAVOUR TO YOUR WORKERS in Europe or any other organised economy they regard it as
    essential and a mandatory obligation!

  • vincentumenyiora

    O’ yeah, I don’t want to read what this features has but the fact that it is talking about the backlog of pensions to be paid will send a big relief to all those concerned and families across Nigeria! Mark you we are talking about those alive; what about those that have passed-on and hie families – in a country where the so-called political leaders can amass wealth to a point where i is evident that they become ‘filthy Rich’ as we have seen it i th to Hill top Mansion of IBB and Obasanjo nothing is told yet (we don’t know much) about Abdusalamin’s own Mansion – the opulence displayed an you NIGERIA WON’T PAY AND CAN’T PAY salaries syndrome and fringe benefits regularly and you’re talking about – ‘Buhari: ERGP Will Grow Economy as We Fight Corruption, Insecurity April 6, 2017’ they should be minded that the growth of any economy is dependent on the over all contributions of the peoples and their well being and not based on TREES or Houses on Hill tops – I want to cite Gandhi of India and Nelson Mandela of SOUTH AFRICA, folks! And I talked about ‘liquidity ratio/rate’ for Nigeria like my other contributions, as far back as the 7th August 1987 – NO 15 on the list I sent to the Presidency on 4th JUNE 2015 – why not check on this information with your office and see how far my claims are correct!Pay people so that they in turn can pay their way out in your society like rents and or mortgages – it is part essence of good economic planning also!